Admissions of Cats to Animal Welfare Shelters in Melbourne, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Although the number of companion animal (pet) cats (Felis catus) in Australia is decreasing, there has not been a corresponding reduction in feline admissions to nonhuman animal welfare shelters. This study tracked 15,206 cat admissions to 1 large Melbourne shelter over a 12-month period. Data collected included factors believed indicative of the cats' source subpopulation, including body condition, injuries, and sociability. The majority (81.6%) of admissions were strays. Overall desexing levels were low (4%), even among caregiver (owner)-relinquished cats (12.8%). The high sociability of many stray cats and kittens suggests that many may be "semiowned" animals. Colony cats were typically thinner and in poorer health than other admissions. The pattern of kitten admissions suggests that many queens are producing 2 litters per season. The majority of cats admitted were euthanized, indicating that there is an oversupply of cats in Melbourne, Australia, and that strategies to reduce the euthanasia rate need to target the subpopulations of cats who contribute to the current oversupply.

publication date

  • June 18, 2009